Molly-Jean
Folk, Detroit rock and classic songwriting-infused.[mollyj]
She’s a ’60s songbird at heart. Molly-Jean is the modern-day version of Joan Baez and Marianne Faithful, and it’s evident when she takes the stage, accompanied by only her guitar and a microphone.
She says she plays about 60 percent rock and 40 percent folk, which comes as no surprise after hearing her musical influences. Her music has been shaped by classic bands like The Beatles, especially George Harrison’s sweet, rhythmic melodies, Joan Baez, Margo Guryan, Simon & Garfunkel and early Motown recordings. Also evident is her love for Detroit rock, including The Sights and folksy songwriters like Elliot Smith.
Molly-Jean is a creative writing junior and finds inspiration while writing music in everyday life. “I’ve got lots of reasons [for playing music]; mainly it’s a way of expressing myself,” said Molly-Jean. “I’ve got some rather petty reasons why I play music, too, one of them being for the gratifying feeling I get after writing a scathing song about an ex-boyfriend and performing it while he’s in the audience. That’s always interesting.”
After picking up a guitar five years ago as a high school sophomore, she quickly realized she wanted to play music. But she didn’t start performing until she was a senior, with a girl band called Exit 110. Things didn’t pan out and she’s been performing solo for about 10 months.
Her debut album, Valley of the Doll’s House, is due out Oct. 18 and will cost $10. She said it will include 14 tracks, with special guests Marc Fellis of The Go playing drums; special cameos on lead guitar by Augie Visocchi from The Hard Lessons, Eddie Baranek of The Sights and Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry and backing vocals by Korin Cox of The Hard Lessons and Loretta Lucas of The Larkspurs. Molly-Jean plays both guitar and bass on the album.
The CD release party will take place at Jacoby’s in Detroit on Oct. 28, to coincide with her 20th birthday party. She will also play at the same venue on Oct. 15 for a WDET (Detroit public radio) benefit.
She is reachable at www.myspace.com/mollyjean3 and will be soon forming www.mollyjean.net. For contact purposes, Molly-Jean can be reached at (517) 974-4015 or schoenmo@msu.edu.
— Molly Benningfield
Know Lyfe
[know]Hardcore and metal band from Lansing.
They know one thing in life: music. Lansing’s Know Lyfe was started five years ago by drummer and back-up singer Nick Killips. The four-person band does not like to put themselves into one genre. They combine hardcore guitar riffs with screaming and melodies.
“We’re not afraid to play music that may not be popular right now, that may not be following the trends,” said Killips.
In the past five years, Know Lyfe has packed their schedules and played with a number of national bands. They say they are influenced by Poison, the Well and Dredg.
Lead singer, Alfonso Civile, writes most of the band’s lyrics, while guitar player Jerred Pruneau and drummer Killips write the music.
Lyrics to the new song “Balloons” can be found on their Web site: www.myspace.com/knowlyfe.
The song kicks off with a rocking guitar that fortes into the melody. The emo vocals blend well to create a melodramatic tone. The band also throws screamo into the mix to keep you on your toes.
I felt your hand touch mine and what came next was an unexpected rush of uncertainty but at that moment I felt a kinetic energy run for the tips of your fingers to my heart/Chorus: You’re feeling like the bitter silk that ran through my hands and I forgot to say what really matters is that you take my breath away like a balloon in the night sky…
Know Lyfe is not holding its breath until they make the big bucks. “All of us really want to be making enough money so we can go out on the road and be able to pay our own bills,” said Killips. After all, life is about the music.
Know Lyfe plays at the Temple Club on Oct. 7 around 10 p.m.
To contact the band, e-mail them at knowlyfedrums@hotmail.com.
— Melissa Talon
The Jaded Reason
[jaded]Rocking the college parties.
Coming to a party near you is The Jaded Reason, a trio of college students who just like to play music.
The band is a mix of mainly rock music, influenced by punk, emo and progressive stylings.
As a band, their musical influences are Foo Fighters, Weezer, Jimmy Eats World and Taking Back Sunday. Individually, they like everything from The Rush to The Smashing Pumpkins to The Beatles.
Derek Pallin said the reason he plays music is the way it makes him feel. “There is something amazing about writing a song, and then hearing people sing that song back to you,” Derek said.
Dustin, Derek and Jeff started playing together three years ago, when Derek was searching AOL profiles for a bass player and found Dustin. As some people find their true love online, The Jaded Reason found their bandmates through the Internet.
Derek is a communications junior at MSU and the other two are seniors at the University of Michigan, with Dustin studying pharmacy and Jeff, education and music.
The three like to think of themselves as a tri-force, power, wisdom and courage forming the core of their being. Also noted as band activities are long walks on the beach and practicing with their pants off.
The Jaded Reason plans to record tracks for an upcoming CD and to make the music available on their myspace account at www.myspace.com/thejadedreason or www.umich.edu/~thejadedreason. They hope to start playing at bars and other venues after the release of their album, but are sticking to house parties where they play classic songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” while the animated audience sings along.
The band can be contacted at thejadedreason@umich.edu.
— Molly Benningfield
Autumn and the Wasp
Emerging from the urban chaos of Flint, all sound and fury signifying dance come Autumn and the Wasp.
The four-piece, featuring guitarist Matt Davis, bassist Chad Horton, keyboardist Randy Meteyer and drummer Chris July, formed in 2004, after the break-up of two other bands. Vocal duties are split between the members, with Davis taking lead vocals and Meteyer adding interstitial singing in a register usually reserved for Coheed and Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez or Rush’s Geddy Lee. Their vocal prowess is exemplified in “From Karate to Pilates,” which climaxes in a kaleidoscopic round of all four voices.
Autumn and the Wasp play with the emotional energy of their influences, Motion City Soundtrack and Coheed and Cambria, injected with hip-shaking rhythms and spacey synthesizers. It’s a sound that could seem jarring, but Davis said this gives the band a leg up.
“It’s nice ’cause we can play with any genre of music and still hold our own,” said Davis. “Also, fans of any genre are able to grasp on to some parts of the songs ’cause we cover the entire spectrum.”
They may have come along during an influx of dance-oriented rock bands, but Davis said Autumn and the Wasp should not be lumped in with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party or The Killers.
“When we first were mentioned as dance rock, we were thrown in with those bands, but once you take a listen you catch on to our originality,” he said. “At this time in music, to have those bands be popular, gives us that edge to put our foot in the door so we’ll grab people’s ears, but allows us to keep them listening.”
What lies ahead for Autumn and the Wasp? The recording of a full-length album, a “hectic schedule of shows in Michigan,” and a cross-country jaunt once recording is finished.
“Our show is always high energy and we give as much as we can to all of our fans,” said Davis. “No matter how big or small the audience.”
To find out when you can catch these guys next, check out their Web site at www.autumnandthewasp.com.
— Erik Adams

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